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Wireless Connection Help

By steve ·

I have two PCs each with a Wireless-G PCI Adapter (Minitar MN54GPC-RC).

They are in two seperate rooms seperated by two walls and about 20 metres.

The house also has two cordless Uniden telephones using the 2.4GHz spectrum.

I have managed to connect the two PCs using both Windows' own Zero Configuration utility and the RALink utility. In RALink, the Link Quality reaches about 80%, and the Signal Strength averages 33%, reaching 45%. Windows displays the signal strength somewhere between Poor to Very Strong.

Disconnecting the telephones has no noticeable difference to these values.

I can detect two other wireless networks within range. One uses Channel 6. I'm unsure of the other.

The connection works at best intermittantly, and at worst, not at all. Removing authentication (currently set to WPA) has no bearing on the problem.

What are the best parameters to look at to resolve the lack of connectivity?

Is it physical? I'm a little disappointed at the cards' performance through only two walls. I believe (possibly incorrectly) there is little else to interfere with the signal. One of the PCs is in a study which contains a TV, a fax/copy/scanner, and a Uniden telephone. The wireless antenna is at desk height and on the other side of all this equipment, towards the other wireless antenna. There is little metal between the two antennas.

Are there advanced card parameters I could look at tweaking?

Should I consider a wireless repeater?

Are "better" antennas able to be connected to the PCI cards?

Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated.



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Some helpful info

by MGP2 In reply to Wireless Connection Help

Here's some helpful info from Dlink's site. It's not product specific. (Pay particular attention to #2). Just a note of personal experience...I found that moving my wireless router out of my back bedroom and mounting it above the door frame (about 7 ft high) in the kitchen made the difference between "poor to good" to "excellent" in signal strength. Good luck.

1. Keep the number of walls and ceilings to a minimum - Each wall or ceiling can rob your wireless product of 3-90 ft. of range. Position your Access Points, Residential Gateways, and computers so that the number of walls or ceilings is minimized.

2. Be aware of the direct line between Access Points, Residential Gateways, and Computers - A wall that is 1.5 feet thick, at a 45 degree angle, appears to be almost 3 feet thick. At a 2-degree angle it looks over 42 feet thick! Try to make sure that the Access Point and Adapters are positioned so that the signal will travel straight through a wall or ceiling for better reception.

3. Building Materials make a difference - A solid metal door or aluminum studs may have a negative effect on range. Try to position Access Points, Residential Gateways, and Computers so that the signal passes through drywall or open doorways and not other materials.

4. Make sure that the antenna is positioned for best reception by using the software signal strength tools included with your product.

5. Keep your product away (at least 3-6 feet) from electrical devices that generate RF noise, like microwaves, Monitors, electric motors, etc.

6. If you are using 2.4GHz cordless phones or X-10 (wireless products such as ceiling fans, lights, and home security systems), your wireless connection will degrade dramatically or drop completely.

For the average home, range should not be a problem. If you experience low or no signal strength in areas of your home that you wish to access, consider positioning the Access Point in a location directly between the Residential Gateways.

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Questions, please

by Michael Kassner Contributor In reply to Wireless Connection Help

Just a few questions to help the members resolve the link quality issue.
1. Are you trying to setup an AdHoc link just between the two computers or do you have an access point or wireless router as the network controller?
2. If you are running an AdHoc link could you setup an access point at an optimal location between the two computers and have the access point manage the connections to the network and individual computers? This would be a much better approach.
3. The cordless phones will have an affect, and if you are going to want to run Wi-Fi using 2.4GHz, you should plan on getting some cordless phones that use a different frequency. Or Wi-Fi kit that use the 5GHz frequency band.
4. If you are using PCI wireless network adapters, do they have removable antennas? You could obtain third party directional antennas that would focus the RF energy toward the remote computer. The link is to a DIY website that shows you how to create a reflector that is very effective.

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